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Medal represents lost lives, resolve to bring change


On Sept. 15, 1963, four little girls lost their lives when a bomb went off during Sunday morning services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Fifty years later a Congressional gold medal will commemorate the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, who were among the worshipers in the predominately black congregation.

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The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee met by teleconference May 30 to discuss themes for the medal and provide input for the U.S. Mint sculptor/engraver.

“We had one of the more poignant, heartfelt meetings I’ve experienced,” said CCAC secretary Erik Jansen.

The CCAC suggested an obverse image that would memorialize the loss of four lives and a reverse that focuses on the resolve to bring change.

“A number of members focused in on a plaque in Birmingham which says, ‘May Men Learn to Replace Bitterness and Violence with Love and Understanding,” Jansen said.

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